Beyond the Shoe: Taking A Quick Look at Ohio State's Fall Non-Revenue Sports

By Derrick Webb on August 20, 2018 at 10:10 am
Ohio State's Madison Smeathers, a junior middle blocker, will contribute for the Buckeyes this fall.
Ohio State Athletics

While football is the king of Columbus each fall, Ohio State's non-revenue athletic programs still see their fair share of success.

The university's students start classes Tuesday, signalling not only a new school year but a fresh start for the Buckeyes' men and women's soccer, men and women's cross country, women's volleyball and women's field hockey teams.

Here's a brief look at each of those programs heading into a new season.

Cross Country

Ohio State's men's and women's cross country teams will hit the trails this fall after finishing 11th and sixth in the Big Ten last season, respectively.

On the men's side, the Buckeyes will be without last year's leading runner in Jake Mandel. However, they'll welcome back junior Aaron Wood, who finished 65th in the conference meet with a finish time of 25:26.9.

Joining Wood in his return will be Alex Lomong, a junior who took a 79th place conference finish at 25:54.9. Ohio State also welcomes back senior Luke Landis and a host of sophomores including Paul Bete, who took 95th at the Big Ten meet last fall.

As for the women's cross country program, Christine Frederick has graduated after competing in the NCAA Championship meet and finishing as the top Buckeye in both the Big Ten Conference and Great Lakes Regional meets.

What that means is that Ohio State will be looking for Frederick's successor. They might find that in senior Emily Stoodley, who placed 24th in the Big Ten at 21:00.1.

Stoodley will be joined by returning teammates Brittany Atkinson, Sarah Kanney, Abby Nichols, Lilly Saniel-Banrey and Kalee Soehnlen — all of which represented the Buckeyes at the Big Ten meet last year.

Both teams start their seasons Sept. 1 at Northern Kentucky University's Queen City Invitational in Highland Heights, Ky.

Women's Field Hockey

Head coach Jarred Martin is now in his second season in Columbus after leading the Buckeyes to a 10-9 mark in 2017, the most games the program has won since 2012.

Martin looks to continue that momentum into this fall but brings back just four seniors — Casey Cole, Courtney Daniels, Kelsey Nolan and Hannah Pany — on a young roster. Junior Esther Clotet Alsina, from Barcelona, Spain, also returns after scoring five goals and passing out three assists, the highest remaining marks on the team.

Notable moments last year includes wins over No. 9 Louisville, No. 11 Stanford and No. 18 Rutgers. But if the Buckeyes are to take a step forward, they must perform better in the Big Ten, where they had a 2-6 mark.

“It’s clear what we are about and what our expectations are for this year’s group.  I can’t wait to see where this team goes," Martin told Ohio State's official website. "The team shows up ready to work and eager to learn.  We have thrown a lot of variables at them and they have done a great job taking it all in and making changes when needed.”

Ohio State begins its season Monday, hosting Michigan, a program that finished as the nation's fourth-ranked team a year ago.

Men's Soccer

With a first-year coach in Brian Masionneuve, a former member of the U.S. National Team and Columbus Crew, the Buckeyes are hoping to make significant improvements on last year's 8-10-1 overall mark.

In 2017, Ohio State scored just 17 times while seeing their opponents find the back of the net on 26 occasions. But the shot count was a much wider margin as the Buckeyes tallied 174 shot attempts while allowing opponents a total of 253.

Having said that, OSU will certainly have to shore up its defense. They'll get help in that category from Duke transfer CC Uche as well as returning defenders Will Hirschman and Michael Dichlian.

Also returning is junior goalkeeper Parker Siegfried, a product out of Granville. As a sophomore, he made 59 saves in 17 appearances with seven shutouts. The Buckeyes were 8-6-1 when Siegfried was in between the pipes.

Ohio State starts its season Friday, hosting Furman.

Women's Soccer

Ohio State's women's soccer team is the only fall program to have already started its season, coming in a pair of 2-0 losses to Duke and North Carolina this past week.

The Buckeyes came into this fall ranked 23rd in the nation before falling to the third-ranked Blue Devils and sixth-ranked Tar Heels — quite a way to start the year.

After the loss to North Carolina, Ohio State head coach Lori Walker-Hock said, "We’ll take a lot from this game and it’ll make us stronger. We’d love to have another crack at North Carolina or Duke again and hopefully we’ll be in contention to see that in November."

Walker-Hock's team is coming off a year in which it went 15-5-1 overall and 9-2 in conference action. The Buckeyes bring back senior goalkeeper Devon Kerr, who made 63 saves and gave up just 13 goals last fall, as well as midfielders Arden Holden and Sarah Roberts, forwards Meghan Kammerdeiner and Eleanor Gabriel, and defenders Marike Mousset and Kylie Knight, among others.

Ohio State is back in action Friday, paying a visit to the Florida Gators.

Women's Volleyball

After compiling a 15-16 overall mark last season, the Buckeyes said goodbye to three seniors, including their best two hitters in Luisa Schirmer and Ashley Wenz — a duo that combined for 685 kills.

They were also forced to bid adieu to three-year starting setter Taylor Hughes after she suffered a season-ending injury. Hughes was instrumental in the team's back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in 2015 and 2016.

But there is good news.

Returning from last year's team is a mix of talent and experience, including the likes of junior Madison Smeathers and sophomores Hannah Gruensfelder and Lauren Witte.

1 BECCA MAUER S 5-9 SO Houston, Texas (Jersey Village)
2 CAMRYN MOELLER DS 5-8 FR Troy, Ohio (Troy)
3 MIA GRUNZE OH 6-3 FR Waterford, Wisconsin (Waterford Union)
4 MADISON SMEATHERS MB 6-3 JR Bargersville, Indiana (Center Grove)
5 OLIVIA DAILEY S 5-10 SR Trussville, Alabama (The Cahaba School)
7 HANNAH GRUENSFELDER DS 5-6 SO Weldon Spring, Missouri (St. Joseph Academy)
9 AUDRA APPOLD OH 6-1 SR Perrysburg, Ohio (Perrysburg)
11 JORDAN FRY MB 6-4 RS SO Cincinnati, Ohio (Ursuline Academy)
12 LAUREN WHITE MB 6-2 SO Mentor, Ohio (Lake Catholic)
13 VANJA BUKILIC OH 6-6 FR Belgrade, Serbia (XIV Belgrade)
14 CAMRY HALM DS 5-2 JR Apopka, Florida (Apopka)
16 ADRIA POWELL OH 6-2 FR Hubbard, Ohio (Hubbard)
17 ANA BEATRIZ FRANKLIN OH 5-11 JR Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Centro Educacional de Lagoa)

Smeathers had 212 kills as a sophomore and a .307 hitting percentage while Gruensfelder, a defensive specialist played in 105 sets and turned in a team-high 456 digs. Witte, a middle blocker, had 192 kills and a team-high 112 blocks.

The team will also be welcoming in senior setter Olivia Dailey, a transfer from Kentucky that's tabbed to likely step in for Hughes alongside sophomore Becca Mauer. In 2016, Dailey earned honorable mention All-America honors with the SEC champion Wildcats.

Head coach Geoff Carlston, who enters his 15th year at the Division I level and 11th with Ohio State, has a career winning percentage of .696 (352-154).

Carlston's Buckeyes begin their season Friday, hosting the University of Albany.

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